Les Handclaps
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Les Handclaps

Montréal, Quebec, Canada | MAJOR

Montréal, Quebec, Canada | MAJOR
Band Alternative Pop

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Here are the top 3 bands, as selected by the public & jury of Pop Montreal musical pundits:

Lucy & the Popsonics / The Craft Economy / Les Handclaps

Congratulations to everyone who got into the top 200 as well!

The SIRIUS Satellite Radio stage will be at the Jupiter Roomon Saturday, October 4th. Our full schedule will be out in a week, so check it out for more details and to see some other great artists & legends!

http://popmontreal.com/en/node/3343 - Pop Montreal


Les Handclaps @ CMW 2009
Rancho Relaxo
Toronto, ON
on Mar 14 2009
Steve McLean (CHARTattack)

Background / Composition:
This Montreal band are composed of singer Lorraine Muller (who was previously in The Kingpins and Lo And The Magnetics), keyboardist/vocalist Daniel Saucier and guitarist/vocalist Hugo Clermont. They use a laptop for the drum tracks, but that's apparently about to change. They also have two women dancers who didn't make this gig.

Grade: 90

Comment:
Les Handclaps play a combination of '60s garage rock and modern electro-pop with lyrics sung primarily in French, but with some English, German and Spanish thrown in, too. I don't know if anyone else is doing what they do, and they do it very well.

Achievement of Rock 'n' Roll Expectations
80-100: Exceeds skill and knowledge expectations, i.e. rocked us so hard we peed our pants.
70-79: Achieves required skills and knowledge. Meets rock 'n' roll standard.
60-69: Demonstrates some skills. Approaches rock 'n' roll standard.
50-59: Demonstrates some required skills and knowledge in a limited way.
00-50: Has not demonstrated required skills or knowledge.

Learning Skills: E=Excellent, G=Good, S=Satisfactory, N=Sad Really

Oral And Visual Communication
Eye Contact: G
Pronunciation: G
Stage Presence: E
Stage Banter: S
Image: E
Appearance: E
Use Of Stage: G

Strengths/Weaknesses/Next Step:
It's hard to give an assessment on pronunciation since most of what they sang wasn't in English, and my other language skills aren't nearly up to the standard that I'd like. There wasn't a lot of stage banter, but at least it was in English. But the group's conveyance of fun knows no linguistic barriers.

Musical Analysis
Level Of Participation: E
Problem Solving: G
Teamwork: G
Work Habits: G
Organization: G
Audience Participation: E
Sound: E
Composition: G
Songs: G

Strengths/Weaknesses/Next Step:
The language barrier again makes this difficult, but the smiling faces of everyone dancing in front of the stage was enough. There were occasional choreographed dance moves and a quasi-cover of The Rivieras' "California Sun" and a full-on cover of Technotronic's "Pump Up The Jam." The sixth song (sung in French) was introduced as being "very sexy." It was. A couple of French guys standing near me were shouting "plus chansons" at the end of their set. Even I know that meant "more songs."

Other Skills And Areas Of Interest
Charisma: E
Problem Solving: G
Teamwork: G
Sexiness: E
Haircut: G
Indie Rock Footwear: E
Nods To Disposible Fashion: E
Cool Equipment: G
Level Of Inebriation: S
Actual Ability: G

Strengths/Weaknesses/Next Step:
If Muller wasn't wearing black nylons, her leather mini-skirt definitely would have exposed her cooch. She wore laced-up black boots while her bandmates wore black Doc Martens and white leather loafers. Muller kissed me after the show. Les Handclaps' debut album should be out in May and, if you're in Austin, Texas this week for the South By Southwest Music Festival, you can see them play (with their two dancers) at Beauty Bar with Slim Twig, The D'Urbervilles, Hollerado, Gentleman Reg and Boats on Saturday.
- Chart Attack


By Brittany Bemis

Les Handclaps wants to get the whole world moving.

The pop trio, who hails from Montreal, Quebec, had its first taste of fame when one of its songs was featured in a commercial for Telus, a Canadian telecommunications company.

Daniel Saucier, organ, programming and vocals, explained the band name has symbolic meaning. It incorporates the multilingual music of the group and serves as an encouragement for movement.

“Handclaps is like the most simple music you can make with your body. It is like the union between dance and music,” Saucier said. “So when we started doing music together we found that hand-clapping was really the thing that made you dance in a song.”

The band writes songs in German and Spanish, but a majority of their music is “Franglaise,” a blend of French and English.

Lorraine Muller, vocals, enjoys the various languages employed by the group.

“It’s just fun,” Muller said. “It sounds nice. It makes you think differently and sing differently. You can express the same thing with different words. It is just a different texture for the music.”

Saucier and Hugo Clermont, guitar, programming and vocals, began playing together four years ago and added Muller to the mix two years ago.

It all began with a farfisa organ.

“(Saucier) bought a farfisa organ, and I used to stop by during my lunch break and listen to him play,” Clermont said. “We just loved the sound of it and wrote a song for a friend’s wedding.”

The pair discovered Muller on MySpace, and Les Handclaps was born.

Les Handclaps is not finished yet. The band hopes to create a project utilizing sound and images, and has begun by adding its own dance crew.

“We were inspired by ’60s music, garage bands, and there was the go-go music at this time. We wanted to see how the go-go dancers would be today,” Clermont said. “They are not actually go-go dancers, (but) they are inspired by the go-gos.”

Marie Béland and Marilyne St-Sauveur are trained contemporary dancers, Muller said.

“(They are) the physical side of the music,” Saucier said.

Choreographing for the group was a new and difficult experience.

“It was a challenge to try to find the blend of mixing go-go dancing and contemporary dancing,” Béland said. “(The goal is) doing something as simple and clear as possible, because the dance is a part of a show, and for me, a way to put the music in the body.”

St-Sauveur said she and Beland do more than jump around on stage.

“(We want to be the) image of the music,” St-Sauveur said. “Complementing what they are doing, because they are already on stage is a balance of taking space and leaving space.”

The band is awaiting the debut of their first album, which is scheduled for release in May.

“We have a lot of special guests on the album — the guitarist from Montreal band Les Breastfeeders, and Stuart Zender, former member of Jamiroquai,” Muller said. “I keep joking and saying if the people who were on the album were told a year ago that they would be on the same record as the other guests, they would never see where their worlds could meet.”

Saucier said the band was very excited to be chosen to play in the South by Southwest showcase.

“We only had a sample of a demo. We didn’t have the album done,” Saucier said. “We are quite proud and honored to be here.”

Muller said she was more surprised than the rest of the band members that Les Handclaps was selected to play at the festival.

“Getting into SXSW is impossible, if you look at the odds,” Muller said. “But getting in when you don’t have a label, you don’t have an album ... you don’t have anyone pushing for you, nothing, that is pretty outstanding.” - University Star


by RUPERT BOTTENBERG

There’s plenty with which to peg Montreal’s les Handclaps as a French band—the definite article in their band name, the two French teachers in the band (guitarist Hugo Clermont and keyboardist Daniel Saucier) and the French-sounding onomatopoeias of their debut album’s title, Ouh Ouh Ah! (launched at FrancoFolies for bonus points). Singer/sax player Lorraine Muller calls their sound “electro-pop yéyé,” a blend of Gallic ’60s garage rock and the specifically French strain of ’80s new wave.

Mais oui, they’re a thoroughly French band—except when they’re not. Like when Muller’s tenure with ska band the Kingpins is reflected in the reggae roll of “What’s Coming Up” (“It’s funny,” she says, “I thought I’d finally have a record without an upbeat, but I couldn’t get away with it. Not that I wanted to”). Or when Shades of Culture MC Orion “Re-Evolution” Curiel lets a rap rip on “My New 135” (other album guests include Stuart Zender of Jamiroquai, les Breastfeeders’ Sunny Duval and Creature’s Kim Ho). Or when they trot out tunes in English and even a pair, “Liebe Macht Frei” and “Ein gutes Jahr,” in German.

“The funny thing is, it may be my background,” says Muller, “but the lyrics for those two songs were written by [Saucier]. Then I went through them, a little nip and cut, and passed them to a friend in Germany just to be sure. It’s a natural thing for us to play with languages and sound, and those songs called for the kind of intonation and sounds you can get from the German language.”

Three tongues—and room for one more. “Barbarella Pop Club” sports lyrics c/o Amylu Meneses, a globetrotting Latina DJ friend. “I could write a song in Spanish,” says Muller, “but this was actually inspired by a place in Madrid that she went to, but now it’s closed. So it’s a little like CBGBs—after the fact, it becomes a tribute to something that no longer exists.”

One thing about les Handclaps needs no translation. “About a year and a half ago, we added two dancers, because a lot our music is inspired by the yéyé era, when they had gogo dancers. One of them is a choreographer, and she did some great contemporary choreography, but very inspired by gogo movements. It totally fits with our sound.”
- Montreal Mirror (2009-08-06)


by Bugs Burnett

What do you get when you cross Blondie, Les Rita Mitsouko, The Ramones, The Go-Gos and some really weird electro-pop-dance keyboards? You get the best band to come out of Montreal in the last - hmmn - five years? They were semi-finalists at the 2008 Francouvertes, but who gives a fuck? The best song is the radio-friendly English track Cacti Are Delicious Fruit. And frontwoman Lorraine Muller looks really hot in that red and black surfer mini-dress. An auspicious debut. (4/5) - Hour (Montreal)


by Evelyne Côté

Lorraine Muller n’est pas née de la dernière
pluie de bands montréalais. Tête de file des
Kingpins où elle transmettait la bonne nouvelle
ska dès 1995, puis de Lo & the Magnetics, où
elle ouvrait les vannes garage, pop et new
wave, elle file ici de plein fouet vers la synthpop
yéyé. Les Handclaps avaient séduit entre
autres en ouverture de Me Mom & Morgentaler
il y a plus d’un an. Mais sur l’encodé, on
entend tout le travail fait en studio pour honorer
l’énergie débordante du trio, avec une réalisation
limpide et robuste à la fois.
Quadrilingues, entre le français, l’anglais,
l’allemand et l’espagnol, les morceaux oscillent
entre le yéyé électrifié (l’extrait Cacti Are Delicious
Fruit, Shake Your Tailfeather), l’électrorock
(Liebe Macht Frei, Barbarella Pop Club) et
la synth-pop froide (My New 135). À ne pas
manquer aux Francos ce soir 20 h. (4/5) - 24 heures (Montreal)


by Eric Aussant

Bon. C’est officiel : l’été est arrivé! Si le soleil ne veut rien savoir, on s’en fout, Les Handclaps arrivent avec leur premier CD. Un album que la formation prépare depuis un sapré bout de temps. Les demi-finalistes des Francouvertes 2008 donnent dans ce qu’ils appellent de l’«électro-pop-yéyé», sorte de dérivé des B-52’s, irrésistiblement dansant et amusant. Le trio offre ici 14 chansons accrocheuses, où se mêlent le français, l’anglais, l’espagnol et l’allemand. Seul bémol, la musique noie souvent la voix de la chanteuse. Moments forts : la reggae What’s Coming Up, Shake Your Tailfeather et Les filles c’est fait... (4/5)


- Metro (daily, Montreal)


Story by: Lauren Piper

French-Canadian Electro-pop band Les Handclaps are the winners of this week's CMJ Sonicbids Spotlight. The band recently released their self-titled three song demo, highlighting Lorraine Muller's sassy, Karen O-esque vocals. The Montreal-based band only has one tour date scheduled for now—November 16 in Brooklyn—and we do hope they bring along their two dancers, who are included on their MySpace page under band members as simply "Dance."

- CMJ


by LORRAINE CARPENTER

For an act that strives to recapture and remodel the retro-pop spirit of French yéyé, go-go dancers and all, les Handclaps came about in quite a novel way. Daniel Saucier and Hugo Clermont’s plan was to tour as DJs, specializing in the very style of music they aimed to play live, and make contacts along the way to facilitate future band tours. So, for two years, the duo made beautiful music, producing les Handclaps at home and spinning vintage Québécois pop on the road.

“In New York, we saw that there was really a place for this kind of music,” says Saucier. “There’s a big French culture over there, but they didn’t really know the phenomenon that we had in Montreal, so we really concentrated on this type of music to make us a kind of special product, a trademark.”

Apart from the fruits of touring, MySpace was an essential tool for the band in finding collaborators, from the go-go girls who’ll be part of this weekend’s show to the band’s singer, Lorraine Muller of Lo and the Magnetics. Saucer and Clermont had been fans of hers since she led the Kingpins, and they knew that she was a great singer and a strong performer with all kinds of musical expertise, so they took a chance.

“We asked her out for a beer,” says Saucier. “We were not pretending to be big enough so that she could be tempted by our project, but she offered it by herself. We’re really proud of this.

“She started as a guest singer, but she’s [gotten] more attached to this project. She really became a third member of the band.”

The trio has recorded a three-song demo and played a handful of shows, and they intend to spend this summer honing their stage skills, a process that will eventually take them back to the road.

“For Hugo and I, it’s quite new as a lifestyle—I’m a French high-school teacher and he’s at the ministry of education, so it’s a second side of us, and we have a lot to learn, but I really like the energy it gives us.”

With Chinatown and Die
Romantik at petit campus
on Friday, July 20, 9 p.m., $7

- Montreal Mirror (Vol. 23 No. 5, July 19-July 25 2007)


Eine weitere Single aus der auf 100 Stück limitierten ABC-Serie von Squoodge kommt von LES HANDCLAPS aus, nein, nicht Frankreich, sondern Montreal, Kanada. Drei MusikerInnen, drei Songs, drei Sprachen : Englisch, deutsch und französisch wird gesungen, und die Musik ist charmanter Elektro-Pop mit Wave-Einschlag, und wüsste ich es nicht besser, ich hätte darauf gewettet, dass hier mal wieder Lili Zeller ihre Finger im Spiel hat. Hat sie ber nicht. Trotzdem sehr gut - von denen will ich bald mehr hören. (9)

Translation :
Another single from the 100-copy limited-edition ABC series by Squoodge. LES HANDCLAPS come not from France, but rather Montreal, Canada. Three musicians, three songs, three languages : Englsih, German and French. And the music is charming electro-pop with Wave tendencies, and if I didn’t know better, I could have sworn that Lili Zeller had her fingers in the pie. She does not however. Nervertheless, really good - I want to hear more, soon. (9)
- Joachim Hiller


Discography

Cliché (2012)
TELUS (compilation, 2012)
Ouh Ouh Ah! (2009)
Québec Émergent 08/09 (compilation, 2008)
Lieder, Songs & Chansons (7" vinyl, 2008, Squoodge!! Records (Austria))
J'aime CISM (compilation, 2007)
Les Handclaps EP (2007)
____________________________

HITTING THE CHARTS

PASTICHE
#1 on CISM 89.3 FM Montréal
#5 on CFOU 89.1 FM Trois-Rivières
#7 on Baromètre*
#16 on CRURADIO.ca (College Radio Coalition)
#10 on CIBL 101.5 FM Montréal

CACTI ARE DELICIOUS FRUIT
#1 on CIBL 101.5 FM Montréal
#3 on CISM 89.3 FM Montréal
#3 on Baromètre*
#66 on the BDS francophone top 100

J'EN AI ASSEZ
#2 sur CISM 89,3 FM Montréal

J'AIME ÇA
#4 sur CIBL 101.5 FM Montréal

JUPPON NIPPON
#8 sur CISM 89,3 FM Montréal

* Based on all major college radio charts in Québec

Photos

Bio

“THE BEST BAND TO COME OF MONTREAL IN THE LAST - HMMN - FIVE YEARS?”
Bugs Burnett, August 2009, THE HOUR

“STILL A SLICE OF MONTREAL POP PERFECTION.”
Bernie Perusse, August 2009, THE GAZETTE

“I DON’T KNOW IF ANYONE ELSE IS DOING WHAT THEY DO, AND THEY DO IT VERY WELL”
Steve McLean, March 2009, CHART ATTACK

“PROBABLY THE FIRST BAND AT NXNE THAT I CAN’T WAIT TO HEAR MORE FROM.”
June 2009, T.O. SNOBS MUSIC

“STARTED THE CROWD DANCING RIGHT AWAY”
TJ Liebgott, March 2009, CANADIAN MUSIC WEEK IN REVIEW (TORONTO MUSIC NEWS)
_________________________________________________

Les Handclaps thrive mainly through the friendship and complicity of Hugo Clermont, Lorraine Muller and Daniel Saucier. But it's in their collective passion – with such prestigious collaborators as Stuart Zender (ex-Jamiroquai), Sunny Duval and Poirier - and their multidisciplinary approach (music, visual arts, dance) that the project truly shines.

With over 60 shows and DJ sets to their credit in the States, Europe, and Canada, Les Handclaps use every performance as an occasion to heighten their pleasure in making the audience dance to the multilingual musical candy they dish out.

Their mastery of the pop melody has been recognized by the heavy hitters in the advertising and cinema industries. After Telus and Red Bull, Target has recently chosen their music as the soundtrack of their Summer 2012 television campaign in the USA. Not bad for a completely independent Montreal band.

Whether they're heading off to New York, Texas, Toronto or overseas, Les Handclaps never leave home without these essential pieces of gear: a toy keyboard, an acoustic guitar and the outlines of their latest electro delirium. Thus begins the evolution of their next opus. The brainchild of their combined creative talents feeds off their favourite elements: part machine, part human dance rhythms, catchy melodies and a carefree demeanor; blending luscious organic sounds with synthesized ones so as to obtain the coveted makeup of their unique recipe.

MAIN ACCOMPLISHMENTS
* Participation in major festivals : SXSW - South By Southwest (Austin, TX), NXNE - North By Northeast and CMW - Canadian Music Week (Toronto, ON), CMJ Music Marathon (New York, NY), Francofolies de Montréal, Pop Montréal, Francouvertes (semi-finalists), FMEAT - Festival de musique émergente en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Coup de coeur francophone, Diapason, Envol et Macadam, Festival de théâtre de rue de Lachine…
* Nomination at the GAMIQ awards in the category « Électro Rock Album of the Year»
* Over a dozen plays on the most popular talk-show in Quebec : « Tout le monde en parle »
* Radio airplay on commercial stations (such as CKOI), college and community radio (including several #1 chart appearances)
* Have shared the stage with, among others, Misteur Valaire, Me Mom and Morgentaler, Les Breastfeeders, Stereo Total, Loco Locass, Numéro#, Chinatown, Duchess Says, La Patère Rose, Hollerado, Nous Non Plus, Thunderheist, Creature, Monogrenade, Think About Life, You Say Party!, Final Flash, Lucy and The Popsonics.